Tag Archives: 2017-11

Couples need help forming, following their consciences, pope says

Twenty-one couples celebrate their convalidation ceremony at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria, Va, 24 June 2017. The Catholic Church must strengthen its programmes “to respond to the desire for family that emerges in the soul of the young generations” and to help couples once they are married, Pope Francis said on 11 Nov 2017 in Rome. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

VATICAN CITY — Marriage and family life are blessings for individuals and for society, but both are filled with difficult choices that Catholic couples must be helped to face prayerfully and in the light of their consciences, Pope Francis said.

Unfortunately, too many people today confuse a rightly formed conscience with personal preferences dominated by selfishness, the pope said in a video message to an Italian meeting on “Amoris Laetitia,” his exhortation on the family.

“The contemporary world risks confusing the primacy of conscience, which is always to be respected, with the exclusive autonomy of the individual” even when the individual’s decisions impact his or her marriage and family life, the pope said.

Repeating a remark he had made to the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis said, “There are those who even speak of ‘egolatry,’ that is, the true worship of the ego on whose altar everything, including the dearest affections, is sacrificed.”

Confusing conscience with selfishness “is not harmless,” the pope said. “This is a ‘pollution’ that corrodes souls and confounds minds and hearts, producing false illusions.”

The conference sponsored by the Italian bishops’ conference was focused on “conscience and norm” in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation.

Diagnosing problems in the church’s outreach to married couples and families, Pope Francis had written, “We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life.”

“We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations,” he wrote in “Amoris Laetitia.” “We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.”

In his message to the meeting on 11 Nov 2017 in Rome, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must strengthen its programmes “to respond to the desire for family that emerges in the soul of the young generations” and to help couples once they are married.

“Love between a man and a woman is obviously among the most generative human experiences; it is the leaven of a culture of encounter, and introduces to the present world an injection of sociality,” he said.

Marriage and family life are “the most effective antidote against the individualism that currently runs rampant,” he said, but it does not do one any good to pretend that marriage and family life are free from situations requiring difficult choices.

“In the domestic reality, sometimes there are concrete knots to be addressed with prudent conscience on the part of each,” he said. “It is important that spouses, parents, not be left alone, but accompanied in their commitment to applying the Gospel to the concreteness of life.”

Conscience, he said, always has God’s desire for the human person as its ultimate reference point.

“In the very depths of each one of us, there is a place wherein the ‘Mystery’ reveals itself, and illuminates the person, making the person the protagonist of his story,” he said. “Conscience, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, is this ‘most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths.'”

Each Christian, the pope said, must be “vigilant so that in this kind of tabernacle there is no lack of divine grace, which illuminates and strengthens married love and the parental mission.” – NCR, CNS

53 youngsters attend Youth Alpha Camp

KUNAK – Fifty-three youngsters attended the Youth Alpha Camp organised by the Silam Catholic Youth Apostolate (SCYA) on 6-8 Oct 2017 at Borneo Paradise Eco Farm Resort here.

The participants came from Our Lady of Pilar Silam and St Nicholas Tampenau.

The objective of the Youth Alpha is to bring youth closer to God, to build a relationship between them and Jesus, and to strengthen their faith.

The camp consisted of ten sessions: Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus die for us? How confident am I in my faith? How and why do I pray? Why and how do I read the Bible? Who is the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit do? How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit? How do I overcome evil?

There were also group sharing, praise and worship, healing sessions, Faith in Action (FIA), and Journey to Unity (Amazing Race).

Father Marcellinus Pongking gave a session on confession, examination of conscience and the meaning of the Sacrament of Reconciliation while Father Simon Kontou presided at the Mass.

In his homily, Fr Kontou said the camp has helped the youth to become better persons and stronger in their faith. – heraldmalaysia.com

Kuala Penyu’s winning entry to be Keningau silver jubilee theme song

KUALA PENYU –  The winning entry from the youth choir of St Peter Bundu here will be used as the theme song for the Silver Jubilee of the Keningau Diocese next year.

The choir, under the guidance of Batholomew Cornelius, defended their victory for three consecutive years at the Pesta Koir Belia on 14 Oct 2017 at St Peter Bundu here.

They won for Best Lyrics for their song Rayakan Jubli Keuskupan Keningau.

The song was composed by Batholomew and written by Michael Kimsin.

However, the overall champion of the choir competition was St Theresa Tambunan.

The first competition was held in Sook Keningau in 2013 while the second took place in 2015 in Toboh Tambunan.

heraldmalaysia.com/other sources

CMI-CLOW celebrates 19th anniversary with Mass and fellowship

The children and their facilitators pose with Abp Wong after the Mass, 12 Nov 2017, CMI Bukit Padang.

BUKIT PADANG – The Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) ministry of the Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) here celebrated its 19th anniversary on 12 Nov 2017.

The celebration has become the sub parish’s annual children’s Mass with children taking part in the choir and the Presentation of Gifts.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the Mass.  A simple fellowship took place at the canteen after the Mass.

CLOW managed to raise RM425.00 for the Catholic Centre building project through the sale of coffee, cakes, and pastries.

Entertaining the children, parents, and members of the Parish Pastoral Council were two young girls: 7-year-old Angelina Liew’s recital of the Parable of the Good Samaritan by heart while Caelan Sham, 9, sang and played two songs on her ukulele.

The ministry started on 22 Nov 1998, Solemnity of Christ the King, under Rose Chu with the consent of then-pastor Father Cosmas Lee.  The first facilitators were Janet Lee, Catherine Kung, Vera Kung, Stephanie Chin, Janet Ho, and Victoria Voon.

In 1973, the Congregation for Divine Worship promulgated the Directory for Masses with Children. This document offers principles and guidelines for adapting the liturgy for children so that they may gradually take a more active and conscious part in the full Eucharistic assembly. The Directory attempts to respect the nature of childhood and the age and abilities of the young.

The priest calls the children (pre-first communicants) forward, before the first reading, to listen to God’s word at an adapted Liturgy of the Word, blesses the leader and hands the Lectionary for Masses with Children to the leader, who processes with the children to a separate place (chapel). As the children are sent forth, the liturgical musicians lead the assembly in singing a suitable song.

The children and leader exit down the main aisle, singing in procession until they reach the chapel to continue the Liturgy of the Word with Children. The Liturgy of the Word continues as usual for the main assembly.  Children then return during the collection of the offering and participate with their parents and caregivers in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

CLOW is a part of the entire parish’s worship, not a separate “children’s time”.  It is considered as an extension of the Mass itself.

Pope bans cigarette sales at Vatican

A man smokes a cigarette in front of St. Peter Square at the Vatican Nov. 9. Pope Francis has decided that the Vatican will stop selling cigarettes to its employees in 2018 because of the health risks of smoking. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY – Starting in 2018, the Vatican will ‘cease to sell cigarettes to employees,’ the Catholic Herald posted on its news portal on 9 Nov 2017.

Concerned by the damage caused by smoking, Pope Francis has banned the sale of cigarettes in Vatican City State.

Starting in 2018, the Vatican “will cease to sell cigarettes to employees,” Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, said in a statement.

“The reason is very simple: The Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people,” he said. “According to the World Health Organization, every year smoking is the cause of more than seven million deaths throughout the world.”

The Vatican used to be known as a safe haven for cigarette smokers. That changed dramatically in 2002, when Vatican City prohibited smoking in offices and public places.

However, cigarettes continued to be sold to current and retired personnel at the Vatican. Even after the cigarette ban goes into effect, the Vatican will continue discount sales of gasoline, groceries and other goods to employees and retirees.

Nevertheless, while cigarette sales “are a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk,” Burke said.

On a moral level, the church has never defined smoking as a sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the gift of physical health requires “reasonable care” of the body, and more specifically says: “The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco or medicine.”

Pope Francis tells his audience to stop taking cell-phone photos at Mass

Members of the faithful take photos of Pope Francis, as he arrives to lead the Liturgy of Penance in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 17 March  2017.  (Photo credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY – On Wednesday Pope Francis chastised those who spend Mass talking to others, looking at their phone or even taking pictures during papal liturgies, saying these are distractions that take focus away from the “heart of the Church,” which is the Eucharist.

“The Mass is not a show: it is to go to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord,” the Pope said on 8 Nov 2017. “The Lord is here with us, present. Many times we go there, we look at things and chat among ourselves while the priest celebrates the Eucharist… But it is the Lord!”

In particular, Francis condemned the use of cell phones to take photos at papal Masses. At one point during the Mass the priest says, “we lift up our hearts,” he said. “He does not say, ‘We lift up our phones to take photographs!’”

“It’s a bad thing! And I tell you that it gives me so much sadness when I celebrate here in the Piazza or Basilica and I see so many raised cellphones, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops.”

“But think: when you go to Mass, the Lord is there! And you’re distracted. (But) it is the Lord!”

During the general audience, Pope Francis said the Eucharist would be the new focus of his weekly catechesis for the year, because “it is fundamental for us Christians to understand well the value and meaning of the Holy Mass to live more and more fully our relationship with God.”

In the Eucharist we rediscover, through our senses, what is essential, he said. Just as the Apostle Thomas asked to see and touch the wounds of Jesus after his resurrection, we need the same thing: “to see him and touch him to be able to recognise him.”

In this way, the Sacraments meet this very “human need” of ours, he said. And in the Eucharist, in particular, we find a privileged way to meet God and his love.

The Second Vatican Council was inspired by the desire to help Christians understand the beauty of the encounter in the Eucharist even better, he continued. This is why “it was necessary first to implement, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an adequate renewal of the liturgy.”

A central theme emphasised at Vatican II was the liturgical formation of the faithful, which Francis said is also the aim of the series of catechesis he began on Wednesday: to help people “grow in the knowledge of this great gift God has given us in the Eucharist.”

As a side note, Francis asked if people had noticed the chaotic way children make the sign of cross at Mass, moving their hand all over their chest, and asked people to teach children to make the sign of the cross well.

“We need to teach children to do the sign of the cross well,” he said, noting that this is how Mass begins, because just as Mass begins this way, “so life begins, so the day begins.”

Concluding his reflection on the Mass and the Eucharist, Pope Francis said that he hopes that through these brief weekly lessons, everyone will rediscover the beauty “hidden in the Eucharistic celebration, and which, when revealed, gives a full meaning to the life of everyone.” – CNA/EWTN News

Philippine Church observes day of prayer for victims of extrajudicial killings

Abp Socrates Villegas among the people

MANILA – The Church in the  Philippines observed “Lord Heal Our Land Sunday”  on 5 Nov 2017, to pray for victims of extrajudicial killings.

President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Archbishop Socrates Villegas participated in a march with thousands of worshippers in Manila and called on the police and troops to stop the violence.

Preaching during the  Mass held at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, also known as the Edsa Shrine in Quezon city,  the Archbishop urged the country’s military and police to stop the violence, drug-related killings, and adhere to the rule of law. He said both institutions must aim at justice rather than revenge in the battle against crime and lawlessness. He made them aware of their duty to serve their countrymen and to obey and return to God.

The “heal the nation” campaign brought many people at the Edsa Shrine on Sunday to pray for peace. Masses for the same intention were also held in the provinces for people who were not able to go to the Edsa Shrine.

The Lord Heal Our Land Sunday started another month-long period of praying for victims of extrajudicial killings.  The period will end on December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. – vatican radio

SH Deaf Ministry organises Sign Language Mass

The deaf community poses with Friar Rowland after Mass, 10 Sept 2017, CMI Bukit Padang.

BUKIT PADANG – A Sign Language Mass was celebrated at the Church of Mary Immaculate here on 10 Sept 2017.

It was organised by the Sacred Heart Ministry to Deaf People (SHMDP) of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Kota Kinabalu.

Franciscan Friar Rowland Yeo of Singapore, a deaf priest, presided at the Mass using sign language.

Around 60 hearing-impaired and 30 hearing parishioners turned up for the Mass.  Among them was Javier, who was new to the sign language.

“It’s such a new interactive way to experience Mass,” he said.

A deaf student from SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin said, “Friar Rowland used a lot of gestures, facial expressions, and body language apart from hand signs to convey his messages, which is the way deaf people communicate,” she said.

The deaf members in the ministry hoped that they would be able to experience more integration with hearing parishioners in all pastoral and non-pastoral activities.

SHDMP hoped that with integration, more hearing parishioners will be encouraged and inspired to get to know the deaf community, their culture and their special needs, especially religious needs.

 

 

In conjunction with the International Deaf Day, the Deaf Ministry will also be organising a Thanksgiving Mass in October.

This day is celebrated worldwide on the initiative of the UN on the last Sunday of September, in honour of the establishment in 1951 of the International Federation of the deaf.

The beginning of the formation and development of societies of deaf people in many countries has been made possible thanks to the meetings and associations of graduates of schools for the deaf.

Charles-Michel de l’Epee (1712-1789) founded the first public school for the hearing-impaired in France. He devoted his life to developing the world’s first sign alphabet for the deaf. Epee is also credited with creating a systematic method of teaching the hearing-impaired. His manual alphabet, which he called French Sign Language, was adapted into American Sign Language a few decades after his death.

On the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the great Frenchman in 1912, many deaf people from different countries were invited, and it became the first international meeting of the communities that initiated the contact.

One of the upcoming events will be the 2nd Asian Catholic Deaf Conference (ADCC) to be held in Tagaytay City Philippines on 27 Nov-2 Dec 2018 under Father Min Seo Park of South Korea, the first deaf priest in Asia.

Fr Park was one of the three deaf delegates appointed to the Steering Committee to look into the spiritual needs of the Asian Deaf Community at the 6th South East Asian Conference for Pastoral Workers for the Deaf held in Kota Kinabalu in October 2010. The other two were Melina Sylvia Ann of Kuala Lumpur and Patrick Anthony of Singapore.

In March 2014, Pope Francis held an audience with the Deaf and the Blind. He encouraged them to be witnesses of Christ and asked them to build a culture of encounter. Pope Francis is also urging more and more that we make an inclusive Church, welcoming the people who are on the margins: and the deaf people truly are on the margins. (Source: CNA/Asia’s first conference for deaf Catholics*)

As to the Asian Conference, Father Peter Teerapong Kanpigul, chaplain of the Deaf Catholic Association in Thailand explained during the 1st ADCC “The aim is to promote better understanding and network with dioceses, interpreters, and sign languages, which vary from country to country, so as to foster and strengthen the apostolate of a participatory Asian Church to bolster the new evangelisation”. (Source: CNA*) – Charlton Gomes

18 couples convalidate their marriages

Laminin (L) and Indom (R) are among the 18 couples who convalidated their marriages, St Michael Penampang, 26 Sept 2017.

PENAMPANG – Eighteen long-time married couples convalidated their marriages on 26 Sept 2017 at St Michael’s Church here.

Father Wiandigool Runsab,  the assistant pastor, officiated the convalidation ceremony.

“We have been married for 29 years with five children, and now expecting a grandchild.  As a Catholic, I am very happy because we have finally convalidated our marriage in the Church.  It has been my longing to receive the Body of Jesus Christ again. My husband is now a catechumen in the RCIA class,” said Laminin Tambaukung, 53, after the ceremony.   Her husband, Indom Baulon, is 67 years old.

Jidi Suhai, 46, said,  “I am so happy because I can now receive Holy Communion.  For 19 years I was not able to receive the Body of Christ. Thanks to God and to the teachers who guided us towards this blessing.”  He has been married to Rozi Marius, 42, for 21 years with seven children.

The process towards marriage convalidation is facilitated by the Penampang Parish Pastoral Committee on Family Life. It includes talks and seminars where couples are led to understand the Christian marriage, the roles of husbands and wives, effective communication, spiritual healing in marriage, and  building up the family for God.

Canon law – the law of the Church – requires that Catholics enter into marriage by free mutual consent that is witnessed in a church by an authorised bishop, priest, or deacon and at least two other witnesses. Marriages in which one or both parties are Catholic and which are not witnessed by an authorised bishop, priest, or deacon, or which do not receive proper permission to take place in another forum, are considered invalid in the eyes of the Church. – Soccom Penampang

Penampang family life committee organises inaugural family life conference

Participants listen attentively to Romo Agung in one of the sessions, 23-24 Sept 2017, Penampang.

PENAMPANG – The Family Life Committee of the St Michael Parish here organised a two-day conference on family life on 23-24 Sept 2017.

The inaugural conference was held at Jud’s Hall at St Aloysius Limbanak on the first day and continued at St Michael Parish Hall on the second day.

The conference drew 162 participants – mainly married couples.

The main speaker was Romo (Father) Bernadinus Agung of Indonesia.

In his talk, Romo Agung said that the Gospels “help us to understand that every Christian family can become a privileged place to experience love and the joy of forgiveness…where there is love, there is also understanding and forgiveness.”

Among the topics were 1) Originality of Man and Woman; 2) Meaning of Faith in Life; 3) Faith: Source of Life in Marriage; 4) Faith Parenting for Children; and 5) Family as the Domestic Church.

The talks were followed by workshops.

Retired nurse Vinicah Unsoh, 56, from Ranau, shared her experience that comes from understanding the importance of a strong husband and wife relationship born out of a communion of faith.

“As the couples were invited to embrace and renew their vows, I could not hold back my tears,” she said.

Dennis Dahangat, 60, a retired teacher with two grown-up children, from Kg Terian, Penampang believed that the seminar has fulfilled its objectives through the many inputs on strengthening the family institution with the emphasis on faith.

“I am so taken up by the role of the family as the domestic church in evangelising our own family, … the source for building up a strong Catholic Christ-centred community bearing the fruits of unity, humility, love, and forgiveness,” said Dahangat.

The conference concluded on a positive note that encouraged the committee to plan for a similar seminar on an annual basis. – Soccom Penampang

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